NCAA President Mark Emmert: 'If we have to move events, we'll do it'
President Mark Emmert said the NCAA will move future events out of Indiana if it feels it needs to in the wake of the passage of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Indianapolis Star reported Monday.
While the 2015 NCAA men's tournament Final Four will be held in Indianapolis's Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend as planned, Emmert did not say whether the NCAA's upcoming events in the area, including the 2016 women's Final Four as well as the 2021 men's Final Four, will be relocated.
Instead, Emmert indicated the association would pay close attention to the Indiana state legislature's actions in the coming week, saying that it takes the law's passage very seriously and values the notion of inclusion.
More from Emmert, per the Star:
"We're going to have to sit down and make judgments about whether or not (the RFRA) changes the environment for us doing our work, and us holding events. We're deeply committed to the whole notion of inclusion. We have a very diverse membership. We value that very, very highly. We've got to work in and we've got to host our events in an environment that makes that possible. …
"We don't want to, because of political activity, disrupt an event that's been in the making for so long, (and now) you've changed the experience for the student-athletes. But if we have to move events, we'll do it.
"We have to look and see what the legislature does or doesn't do in the next few days," he said. "It's premature to talk about what we would do in that regard, but it's important to know we're very serious about this."
Last week, the NCAA issued a statement on the law, which was signed by Gov. Mike Pence on Mar. 26, illustrating its concern as to how it could affect its student-athletes and employees.
The Star report also said protests are expected at the Final Four, which starts Saturday. The law's passage has drawn the criticism of prominent former basketball players, such as Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller.
The NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis.
- Will Green